Online LPN to BSN Program Summaries

Get info about online LPN to BSN programs. Read about program requirements, course topics and degree levels, and check out career and continuing education options.

Essential Information

Fully online Bachelor of Science in Nursing degrees for licensed practical nurses are available but uncommon; generally these bridge programs are hybrid, which requires some on-campus attendance. Regardless of the format chosen, almost all programs require in-person clinical training, but some schools let students complete that obligation at a medical facility near their home. When it comes to LPN to BSN programs, incoming students are required to be currently employed as a LPN.

All registered nurses must be licensed, which requires graduating from an approved program and passing the National Council Licensure Examination-RN (NCLEX-RN). Additional licensing requirements vary by state; check for state-specific regulations when choosing an educational program.


Online programs are available for licensed practical nurses (LPNs) who wish to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Upon completion of these programs, graduates may be eligible for licensure as registered nurses (RNs). Distance learning LPN to BSN programs train nurses to care for chronic and acute illnesses. Courses prepare students for the additional duties and responsibilities given to registered nurses through both classroom instruction and practical experience.

Information and Requirements

Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED and be currently employed as an LPN. Some programs require an associate's degree in nursing. Admission requirements can also include a nursing entrance exam, CPR certification or a criminal background check. Programs can be completed in four years. A previous associate's degree decreases the time needed to complete a BSN program. Most courses are available online; however, a few may be offered on campus only. Programs frequently require a clinical component which must also be completed in-person.

Classes are offered through a web-based platform including class materials, syllabi, assignments and instructions from the professor. Instructors and students also communicate by email. Computers should be equipped with speakers and a media player. Schools recommend students use updated versions of current web browsers to ensure compatibility with online content.

Common Coursework

Common prerequisite courses include algebra, sociology, microbiology, psychology, chemistry, anatomy and physiology, pharmacology and bacteriology. General education requirements may include American literature, statistics, American history and philosophy.

Medication Administration

Students learn to fulfill the orders of a physician for safe medication and parenteral solution administration. This course details methods of administration, dosage calculations, measurements and conversions. The scope of practice and legal issues for nurses is outlined.

Nurse Care for Adults

This course discusses frequent health issues in adults, including problems with circulation, electrolytes, the renal system, the endocrine system and respiration. Students also explore methods of data collection and therapeutic care in institutional settings. Training covers intervention strategies for patients in unstable and critical conditions.

Nurse Care for Children

This course begins at the earliest stages of life with pregnancy, birth and postpartum care. Nursing students learn common complications and health issues for infants, children and adolescents. This class also gives students a basic understanding of family and maternal care.

Career Information

Graduates may be employed by hospitals, physician's offices, home care providers, outpatient centers and nursing care facilities. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (, registered nurses had a median annual wage of $67,490 as of May 2015. While demand varies based on region, overall job prospects for registered nurses should be very good. The BLS estimates job opportunities will grow by 16%, faster than the average for all occupations, between 2014 and 2024.

Continuing Education

Graduates of a BSN program are qualified to become registered nurses. Individual states may have differing requirements for registered nurse licensure in terms of specific education and practical experience. All states require RNs to pass the NCLEX-RN.

Those interested in continuing their education can move on to a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program. Although a master's degree is not required for a nursing career, the graduate training may give nurses an employment advantage, especially in areas of health care administration or teaching. Some schools offer a master's nursing program that can be completed primarily online.

Practicing LPNs wanting to earn the degree required to qualify for licensure as a RN may pursue an online LPN to BSN degree. This degree provides students with the additional training needed to complete the NCLEX-RN.

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